At Hull City Council we know that via our WorkSmart programme, a flexible and blended way of working is possible, as proven these last 15 months as we responded to the Coronavirus pandemic

Becky Colton a Senior Transformation Officer said “The challenges we faced and overcame during the pandemic has shown us that a blended way of working can positively contribute towards a modern service delivery for our residents, improved staff health and wellbeing including work-life balance and enhance our reputation as an attractive employer.

“Although, we know that there are a lot of benefits for our staff, the organisation and our residents, there are also some risks and challenges that we need to be aware of.

“Being part of the Future Work Design Project so far is helping us to better understand the pressures staff are facing and, more importantly how we can support staff with any issues. The project also supports our ongoing corporate programmes, such as WorkSmart.

“A total of 1,242 members of staff completed the stress risk assessment tool which we thought was a brilliant response! We’re also delivering a lot of engagement sessions with staff about the WorkSmart programme and they’re using these sessions as great opportunity to raise some of the same concerns that were highlighted during phase one of the project. This includes back-to-back meetings and not being able to fully switch off.”

Phase two is about considering how digital interventions can support staff in a positive way to help mitigate some of the issues identified. This comes just as Hull City Council is embarking on the roll out of Microsoft 365 across the organisation.

Jackie Gray, Microsoft 365 Communication Adoption and Training Lead from the council ICT Service has joined the Future Work Design Programme.

Jackie said: “I was really pleased to be invited to join phase two of the Future Work Design Programme. It will help us to understand how we can support staff both digitally and with their health and wellbeing as we adopt the new Microsoft 365 tools and move to a more flexible and collaborative way of working.

“We’re enlisting the support of and developing M365 champions who will be able to assist us with this trial, allowing us to better understand how the software and digital tools can support with health and wellbeing.

“We also recognise that a new blended way of working will be a challenge for some of our staff, which will present us with challenges of a different kind. So, we’ll be considering how to approach this using behaviour change theory and communications to help steer those staff accordingly.

“We’ll be introducing some standards and etiquette which will help guide and support staff as they embrace the changes. We want, where possible to help colleagues avoid booking back-to-back meetings, for example or better understanding when to have a virtual meeting or a physical meeting.

“Technology is a key enabler to a blended way of working and our staff will be at the heart of our thinking to help sustain this way of working. The Future Work Design project is helping us to do that.’

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